Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Lahhdahhh Tahn

The Boyf and I went up to London bright and early yesterday and spent the day going round the shops and other interesting places and eateries before going to see Nation at the National Theatre. A lovely anniversary day, even if it was raining (and snowing, come to that), and so nice to get away from Brighton, just for a while. (I've probably said this before, but I sometimes get a claustrophobic feeling living here. Maybe it's because you have sea on one side and just the delights of Worthing to the west or Eastbourne to the east and only the train to London to escape on! Anyway, it was nice to have a breather.)


Tottenham Court Road station mosaics


Alice window display at Charles Fox. Make up HEAVEN!


Lovelies on display at the Primrose Bakery.


Peanut Butter Cake (with PB chips on top. How cool is that? PB chips!)


Glittery butterfly wrapping paper in Paperchase.


Froggy paper.

I've done pretty much sweet FA today. Lots of lying in after a late return home and munching bacon sandwiches is pretty much it. As the weather was so bright this morning we planned to go for a long walk this afternoon, but, of course, as soon as we left the house it began to rain. Oh well. I have an educational/interesting day trip planned tomorrow, which Boyf knows virtually nothing about! He may wheedle all he likes, but I ain't telling. Then I must get on with some new illo ideas. I'm entering a competition (deadline week on Monday) and up until today was rather panicking about what to draw. But I had one of those strange moments this afternoon where an idea just pops fully formed into my head. Strange. Hopefully I can get what's in my head down on paper. Let's get scribbling!

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Youngest Sister, 18 today! I am precisely 10 years and 6 months older than her, which means I can ask for a half-birthday pressie today, and she on 24th August. Not that either of us listen. We usually just scoff at each other and say "yeah, right, OK, whatevs" or the like.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

New Portfolio Sites

I've spent what seems like several weeks uploading my work onto new portfolio sites. I exaggerate, of course - it only took a couple of days, but boy, is it time and brain-cell consuming. It's very interesting how image-uploading differs between sites that pretty much do the same thing. Big up to those sites who offer batch uploading and being able to submit the same tags or keywords to more than one image at once - you do a fine job and you have my love and respect. The worst thing is having to resize all your images over and over again to fit in with each site's particular dimensions. Much tea and Mini Eggs were consumed to counteract the tedium, I must confess.

In the process, I've discovered how to make banners/buttons via Bannerfans, and, for those portfolio sites who don't offer their own, made my own banners to link back to all these new portfolios. So, if you just take a gander over the right hand side there, you'll see I have buttons linking to my work on my own website, Brighton Illustrators Group,, The AOI, Altpick, Artybuzz, Contact a Creative and Hire an Illustrator, plus a link on Folioplanet. Phew! It's cost me more money than I'm comfortable spending in a couple of days, but it's all good self-promo and well worth the investment when they bring some new work my way. (Hopefully).

Here you go, just another bit of shameless plugging to give you a taster!

(From Star Pirates: Crash Landing, published by Whizzbook 2009. Man, I've written that sentence too much over the past few days, and I still spell it wrong every time!)

Friday, 19 February 2010

Some Research Material


I've been reading through the first one and flicking through the second, filling my brain with lots of ideas for potential clothes-making projects. Summer tops here I come!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Bit O' Weekend Knitting

Here's a little something I knitted over the weekend:


Very unlike me to actually finish something in a couple of days, but it was knitted on 10mm needles with two strands of chunky yarn, so it grew rather quickly. What's even better about it is that I finally fixed the loose centre stone in my lovely, vintage snowflake brooch that I've been too scared to wear for about three years, and blinged it up.

If you want an easy-peasy cowl to knit, this is what I did:

Yarn: 4 skeins of Sirdar Click in "Marine Blue" (any chunky yarn will do).
Needles: 10mm straights or circs.
Holding two strands together, CO 80 st.
Either join and k2p2 in the round for 30cm (or until yarn runs out) and BO in pattern, or k2p2 for 30cm on straight needles, BO in pattern and sew up.

Easy, right? I knitted it flat and then sewed it up afterwards as I wasn't sure how it was going to pan out or how I'd like to wear it. If I was doing it again, I'd deffo knit in the round and bind off in pattern, too, which I must admit I was a bit too lazy to do with this one.

All I have to do now is reduce the length of that "Work in Progress" bar on the right hand side there. Especially the stripy cardi, which is for Boyfriend. I mean, I only started that last MAY. Ooops. Better get on....

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Satchel is Here

Yeah, baby.




I've had my eye on one of these for a couple of months; it's taken me that long to decide which colour to go for! After I finish an illustration job I try to buy myself something nice as a kind of reward, particularly if it's been a much harder job to complete than I originally thought. An incentive to keep on going, you might say. So this is my reward piece. Yum. I've not used it yet, it's a bit too nice! It'll have to come out this afternoon, though, I think.

You can see all the other lovely satchels in all the yummy colours available here.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

More Jelly Bean Genius

A poster in the window of Caramella on Kensington Gardens:



 Apparently, there's a whole tradition of jelly bean art. Have a look here. Who knew?!

Sunday, 14 February 2010


On the HiddenEloise/Gather No Moss/Paperchase debacle here. At least that's some sort of conclusion, although Paperchase still could do with a kick up the arse.

And a Happy Chinese New Year and St Valentine's Day and Sunday. If you want to clock up a few extra brownie points today, there's still time to download and print out these mini Valentines below by Peptogirl Industries. Just click here to go to her blog to download for the bargainous price of FREE.

Nice, aren't they? Her blog is pretty nice all over, actually. Well worth a peruse.

I'm afraid I'm not adding any more brownie points to my total today, as I really can't be Aristotled to cook the lamb stew I promised. I have ordered pizza (online. And specified the time I want it delivered! Wow! Ain't technology grand?!) instead, so I suppose that counts as Creating in the Kitchen, right?


Saturday, 13 February 2010


I have been blogging four years today. That doesn't seem that long really, but a whole heap of stuff has happened since February 2006, both good and bad. One good thing is that the frequency and the (I hope) coherence of my posts have both increased. Hehehe. I don't really write my blog for other people to read, and, to be honest, I wouldn't be bothered if they didn't, although I am always touched that people comment on my posts and I thank you lot sincerely for that. When I first started this blog, it was meant as a sort of online sketchbook that I could refer back to, and although it still is, recently it's turned into more of a daily log of everything that's going on! I didn't plan to post pretty much every day so far this year but it's been fun and rather compelling.

In that vein, here are a few snaps of my two-year-anniversary present from Boyfriend:





Our anniversary isn't actually until the 23rd, but he wanted to get his present sorted early. I have no problem with that AT ALL.

Here's to more blogging. Hurrah!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Trouble At' Mill

I've been feeling a bit odd about the trouble HiddenEloise is having with Paperchase apparently stealing one of her characters and using it unlicensed and unpaid for on various items. It's all over Twitter, with the likes of Neil Gaiman and India Knight expressing their outrage; and several newspapers are now reporting on it, so I'm sure you know what I'm on about. See an Econsultancy article here and a Guardian article here, which also shows one of the offending items. You can also read Paperchase's statement here.

Although I think it's terrible that this kind of thing goes on, I can't help feeling that this kind of thing always goes on. I also think that Paperchase, or Gather No Moss who are reportedly the design company middle-man in all of this, can easily claim that their design is, in copyright-speak significantly different from HiddenEloise's to make her accusations baseless. Sigh. It used to be believed (and maybe still is in cases like this) that an artistic work/piece of music/book/whatever had to be at least 10% different from the material that it uses as resources or reference to be "safe", but that just isn't the case. Unfortunately, there is no definite percentage in these matters, but I can't tell if that's good for the originator or for those who they "inspire". I feel that Paperchase/Gather No Moss will simply say their version is different enough and that will be the end of it. I've been reading up on copyright law here to help refresh the lessons that were stuffed into me at uni. There are some useful links there on the left hand side, too.

On the plus side, I love how Twitter in particular can get hold of an idea and run with it, shaming big brands into some sort of action when they've slipped up. That's just great. I like that there's greater transparency now and how public opinion can sway matters. Rock on. The internet really has brought this kind of behaviour out into the open, which is great, but the flip side to that is it also means that you are more likely to be ripped off if your work is out there for all to see. It's tough. For me as an artist, I want my work to be seen by the right people so I can simply make a living, but to do that I risk being ripped off myself. I just have to chance it.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


I've only just discovered an interview I did over a year ago up online here in Fat Quarter magazine. Took my time. Didn't want to rush it, you know.

In other news, how cool is this place? Shame it's in Largs. Wonder if I can innocently and innocuously plan a holiday around there....?

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Lots of Lovely Potential

Seeds from Seedy Sunday.



There's plenty o'potential yumminess there. I'm very excited by these "Filius Blue" chillies. Apparently, the chillies themselves start off purplish-blue and very hot, then as they ripen to red they become more mellow. Two for one!

All we need now a little bit of warm weather, a truck load of pots and a day for sowing.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Jelly Bean Genius

This piece of pure awesomeness is up in the window of Fizziwigg's Finest Sweet Emporium on Meeting House Lane here in Brighton. It's made entirely from Jelly Belly jelly beans. 10, 000 of them, in fact. The good, old Argus has a piece about it here.


Genius. Although I suppose it explains why there weren't any Red Apple flavour left.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Colour Map

I got one one of these extremely useful babies from Galaxy Gauge to help me chose accurate colours for the backgrounds of the latest illo project:






It tells you exactly how much C, M, Y or K to put together in Photoshop (or similar) to make specific colours. See that "Pine" green up there? If you open the Colour Picker tool in Photoshop and put in 86% Cyan, 20% Magenta, 86% Yellow and 10% Black in the boxes provided on the right hand side, you get that particular shade of green. Cool, huh? And you know that's how it will print, too. Super awesome and useful, love it. Can't believe I didn't get one before now.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Well, it Appears to be February...

...already. Blimey. Where have the last few weeks gone? The simple act of blogging my used calendar pages every week has already made me well aware that time continues to fly this year and has no intention whatsoever of slowing down. Even a little bit. In a way that sucks (in that we'd all like to have an extra three hours or so each day), but in another makes me excited and hopeful for the return of warmer weather (that's warmer, mind you, not hot) and a new growing season.

So, thinking about growing things, it's Seedy Sunday this weekend, which is always good for inspiration. Buying some seeds will allow me to tick off part of my NYR list. Speaking of which, cinema visits are on the up, I only very occasionally lapse into Nessa-speak and I've discovered James Anderson and his Inspector Wilkins. Hilaarrrrious. The Horrible Cold has gone without leaving me with a hacking cough for weeks afterwards, which is a bonus. However, my eyelids do seem to like swelling and then being totally OK, weird things that they are. The slow cooker is being used for the second time tonight and now the latest illo project is over I'm beginning to work on new promo stuff. Generally, it's all ticking along nicely.

Just have to stop eating these every day:


But gotta make the most of them while they're still around, right?

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Messing About With Lomo Actions



Top one is Youngest Sister. Bottom one is me. Not sure where she gets her taste in crazy hair colours and bright eyeshadows. It's not like it runs in the family or anything.

If you want to download the Lomo-style action for Photoshop, the one I used is at the bottom of this page here, although there are plenty out there.


I'm sure there'll be the odd tweak or two to come, but it has all been emailed off and my final invoice sent. Bring on the dosh! I'm going to do a bit of experimentation/personal work now; hopefully come up with a few new and interesting ways of working.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Stories and Scribbles

I used that smokin' dragon and urgly-burgly alien in a workshop I led at Hove Library this Saturday. The event was called "Stories and Scribbles" and I had about 14 kids there, aged from about 4 up to 10. Although, actually, there was a baby called Alice, but I don't think she found me that interesting. Here was my set-up:

I got the kids to draw a step-by-step dog with me. It was a warm-up activity I saw author/illustrator David Melling do at a talk last year, and it worked really well. I started to worry through the rest of workshop that they weren't actually listening to me and were just more interested in colouring in and customising their doggies, but, actually, I think it was nice to have something for them to do in the quieter moments when I was frantically scribbling on the board.

I took with me a set of nine A4, black and white line drawings of various unconnected things (like the dragon and the alien) that I pre-prepared on Thursday. I got one child at a time to pick out a card (face down) at random then stuck it up on the flip chart. Then underneath we wrote something together that went with the card, then got another child to pick another card and so on. It worked so well!

Our story went something like this:

Once upon a time there was a boy called Julesy-Boy.


He was very sneaky. One day he went for a walk and came across...



The dragon was just cooking his supper. Julesy-Boy stole the dragon's supper and ran away with it! The dragon chased after him.

Julesy-Boy ran into a girl called Julia.


She stole the dragon's supper from him and ran away! Julesy-Boy and the dragon chased after her.

Julesy-Boy found a pencil on the ground and threw it at the dragon.


It hit the dragon in the eye and the dragon fell asleep.

Julesy-Boy chased Julia all the way back to his house, but the dragon woke up and followed!


Julesy-Boy and Julia hid under Julesy-Boy's bed, but, hang on! There was an alien under the bed, too!


The alien wanted the dragon's supper for himself. The dragon broke down the door and began to fight with the alien over the supper.

Julesy-Boy and Julia crept out and ran towards the forest and the mountain.


Julesy-Boy tripped over a magic wand.


He picked it up, waved it, and shouted: ABRACADABRA!!!

The dragon and the alien turned into apples.


Julesy-Boy and Julia went back to the house and ate the dragon's supper. They had apple crumble for pudding.


Genius, huh? I could never some up with something like that on my own!

I also put together an A4 sheet will all nine pictures for them to take home, cut out, and use to make up their own stories. It was also a great opportunity to get rid of a load of postcards! They were such a nice bunch of kids. I came away with such a sore throat after reiterating the whole story nine times at speed!


If anyone would like the A4 sheet, you can click on it and "download original size" from Flickr. For personal use only, of course.

It was good fun. I'd been worrying about it for ages, but once I had my idea properly sorted and the images prepared it was a breeze. I just went with the flow. I'd quite like to do another session, see what other crazy stories they come up with using the same images!